Pronounced ‘Crates’, Qrates has streamlined the distribution of physical music, making it easier for artists to profit from vinyl releases.
Due to the ultra-convenient nature of streaming, it’s hard to imagine another medium that could compete outside of being more than just a niche market. However, with 2021 being a record year for record sales since the resurgence in popularity of vinyl, the significance of physical ownership is something not to ignore, both in terms of fan to artist connection and financial gain. This is where Qrates comes into play.
Qrates is a startup with the goal of making record sales more accessible to artists, removing the hassle of inventory and price comparison, and creating an environment for private music consumption outside of streaming. Despite being the massive majority when it comes to how people get their music, streaming is not a financially sustainable way for artists to make money off of their craft. Due to its rapidly increasing popularity, the sale of vinyl records allows artists to connect with their fans in a deeper way, as well as achieve a greater return on their music.
Qrates has worked to develop a network between record manufacturing plants and will tailor an offer based on the requirements of the artist. However, rather than offering a hard alternative to artists releasing their music on streaming services such as Spotify, Qrates is best used in conjunction with digital streaming.
Streaming services have proven to be an accurate indicator of artist popularity. Artists who notice a growth in their following, based on rapid increases in follows and stream counts, can capitalise on this knowledge with a physical record release. This way, they are able to turn their already established image as an artist, into an actual business, by releasing a product they know their fans will want, while actually receiving a substantial cut of the revenue.
Qrates, as new as it is in the industry, has already demonstrated the effectiveness of their service. Lofi Girl, a Paris based live streaming channel and record label that specialises in lo-fi hip-hop and chill music, has built a solid following, with over 8.4 million subscribers on YouTube and a considerable presence on Spotify.
With their 8th release through Qrates Window Seat selling 802 units, the record was able to achieve over $19,400.38 in revenue. On Spotify, if an artist was in the highest bracket for earnings, they would need 3.88 million streams to achieve the same number, and several times that again on YouTube. Vulfpeck are another artist who has shown their love for Qrates, with all of the band’s records available through their service.
Qrates have noticed the significance of vinyl records in the modern music industry and maximised the ease of access for artists looking to turn their music into a financially viable business. In a world that is constantly fed up with the unjust pay rates of Spotify and other streaming platforms, Qrates has introduced a solution that has the potential to reward both the artist and the listener.
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